You never want to let the Hogs hang around. The usually find a way to win if they force overtime. This game could be one like that. The Hogs struggled mightily on offense until the 4th quarter. Auburn may even be more physical than UT. Auburn had a huge week off and had had time to heal for the Pigs who fought extremely hard last week. Look for the Pigs to have a hangover and Carnell Williams will be in the secondary most of the game. Auburn won't need to throw it much, but their great tight ends could prove very effective against the Razorback LBs. This is a huge mismatch and I'm sure Tubby has added a wrinkle or two. Look for kicker Damon Duval to throw a half back option pass late in the 4th quarter when the game is well in hand.
Auburn 27 Arkansas 17
LSU vs. Florida
The Gators are pretty agitated. While they kept former Heisman candidate Eli Manning in check most of the day, their star Rex Grossman made several miscues that cost the team the game. The last time the Gators lost they stormed into Knoxville and manhandled Tennessee the next week. LSU cannot throw the football. They haven't much had to, but this week they'll need some version of a vertical passing game. With LaBrandon Toefield on the shelf, Domanick Davis will be called on even more. Future tailback Joseph Addai will carry the mail in Teaux's position, but he is not the physical back that Teaux is. Florida has the athletes to stack the line and make Matt Mauck beat them. The game will be won or lost in the Gators ability to stop the run. They have had their ups and downs, but they haven't seen many offenses this one-dimensional. Grossman should have a strong game against the Tigers. LSU has one of the top ranked defenses in the country, but that is a very inflated ranking when you consider their competition. LSU still can't cover and look for a lot of traffic between the 20s.
Florida 28 LSU 13
Tennessee vs. Georgia
The winner of this game should win the East. Georgia would have a virtual stranglehold on the top spot with a win. UT lost to UF which makes this game a must win if UT has any hopes of winning the East. UGA is very tough at home and their defense continues to impress. UT had a street fight on their hands last week and may show some lingering effects. UGA needs David Greene to have a big day. Casey Clausen and company must establish a running game if they hope to keep the score low. I can't see UT scoring big points at Athens. A win could vault the Bulldogs near the top when the BCS rankings come out. This game will be physical and I expect it to be relatively low scoring.
Georgia 17 Tennessee 13
South Carolina vs. Kentucky
The Cats were off last week which gave them time to lick their wounds and dwell on a close lose to Florida. USC had a huge scoring week last week thanks to some turnovers at opportune times. UK can and will score points. USC has slowed down a lot of squads, but they haven't played against a team that puts up the yards the Blue Grass boys do. USC likes a slow, grind it out, hang around type game. Look for a few wrinkles in the Cat offense, but Pinner should have a nice game. USC must control time of possession if it expects to win. Lorenzen may have had his best game in the loss to Florida. Look for the 'Cats to rebound and to hang conference loss number two on the 'Cocks.
Kentucky 31 USC 21
MTSU vs. Vanderbilt
A season ago Vandy lost this game for their season opener. Many in Nashville felt that was the last straw for Woody Widenhofer. MTSU has paid their dues this year by playing any SEC team it could and has been paid quite nicely for their efforts. Vandy needs a win in the worst way. If Vandy loses this game, it'll be a long year, even deep into winter recruiting. Vandy is still very young and MTSU's Dwone Hicks is one of the nation's biggest scorers. In a crazy way I think Vanderbilt will learn from last year and take these guys seriously. If Vandy loses this one, they probably won't win another one this season.
Vandy 23 MTSU 14
Arkansas St. vs. Mississippi
In what has nearly become Mississippi's 2nd annual rivalry game, the Rebels host the ASU Indians. Fresh off a huge win over Florida, the Rebs look for a cakewalk to develop some depth and rest some starters. Two straight road games at SEC West opponents await in the coming weeks. Many say the Rebs are for real. I am not sold, although I do admit I was surprised at the Rebel defense last week. UM has the bulk of their true schedule after ASU. If UM wins 3 of the next 4 in conference, you could call them a serious contender. They play @ Bama who can run (Loss) @ Arkansas (toss up) host Auburn and Tubby who can run (Loss) @ Georgia (Loss). While I know the Red and Blue are still giddy after last week's upset win, and they should be, the true test lay ahead. This same squad took a nose dive over the same stretch a season ago. This week is irrelevant.
Mississippi 38 ASU 3
Troy State vs. Mississippi State
Who will show up this Saturday dressed in Maroon and White? The Jekyll and Hyde MSU Bulldogs look to take out a year's worth of frustration against the winner of last year's most humiliating loss. Troy State was a huge turning point in the season last year. After the loss, some players, fans, media, etc. seemed to lose interest. Hats off to the coaches for showing vast improvement down the stretch a season ago. They got Fant in the game and circled the wagons around him. The Dogs need the same effort this weekend. One thing is for sure, the Trojans won't sneak up on the Dogs this year. Troy State doesn't have a lot to show for their efforts other than making Nebraska real nervous. The Dogs need a win in the worst way. Fant has had back to back frustrating games and somebody needs to step up on the D-line and in the WR corps. I expect the Dogs to stop the slide, but don't be surprised if it's a game at the half.
MSU 31 Troy State 14
Folks, that's how I see them. This weekend the races officially take shape. An Auburn win and Georgia win catapults both teams to the head of the class and puts them in a position to control their own destiny. It should be a great week in college football; enjoy the games.
Until next week,
Steve Robertson is a free-lance correspondent who writes The Robertson Report for the premium site portion of Gene's Page. Steve's email address is email@example.com.